The ultimate showdown between Mallus and the Legends of Tomorrow is upon us.
During Monday’s season finale of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, the team’s plan to vanquish Mallus (John Noble) with the totems go awry, so they seek refuge in the Wild West, where they cross paths with Jonah Hex (Johnathon Schaech). But he’s far from the only familiar face we’ll see in the finale, as many of the characters we’ve met over the season will pop up to help (or hurt) the Legends — Beebo (Ben Diskin), Jax (Franz Drameh), and Constantine (Matt Ryan) included!
Will the Legends be able to take down Mallus once and for all? Will Sara (Caity Lotz) finally get her revenge on Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough)? EW turned to executive producer Phil Klemmer to get the scoop.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What can you tease for the ultimate showdown with Mallus in the finale?
PHIL KLEMMER: It’s a little inside baseball, but the goal of a finale is to spend all the money. You can’t take it with you. Basically the strategy is, you try to save and save and save and then when it gets to the end, it’s a trip to Vegas where you pull out all the stops.
For us, it is akin to a crossover, where you need to spend millions of dollars on visual effects and guest casts. Not to spend it just frivolously, but for us we wanted to feel like the season was moving towards something.
We started to get a little nervous that there was a risk of it becoming too mechanical with the acquisition of all of these totems, which is cool, but the simple solution that presented itself to us wasn’t the one that we could actually do. Our show is all about turning expectations on their heads. We were moving towards the story in the penultimate one where everybody gets a totem and everybody would find their inner righteousness and Rory would bear the fire totem and Sara the Death Totem and it would all work out. Then the goal is to do that expected thing, have it go terribly or unexpectedly, and then to figure out the what of it all.
For us, it’s really intimidating to break a finale because you only have one chance to do it. There’s no course correction afterwards. Again, it’s about finding the spectacle and spending all the money and having it be a giant blowout, but at the same time finding that emotional satisfaction. We had some cool, deep individual character stories this year, whether it was Sara and Ava’s romance, or Zari coming to terms with not being able to save the future that she’s from, and Nate and Amaya’s impossible romance.
My God, the laundry list of things that you have to do in a finale becomes overwhelming because obviously you also need plot and spectacle and all the rest of it. Then you have to hit a whole lot of character emotional beats at the same time. It’s really feels like you’re doing a pilot all over again when all of a sudden those 50 pages seem like 50 pages too few.
The totems didn’t seem to help in the penultimate, so what will the team need to do to take down Mallus?
The message that I find really empowering about our show is, it’s all an allegory for a writers’ room really. Not to demystify our show. I feel like what you can create as a group is so much brighter than what you can do as an individual. There’s this magical alchemy of being in a room with people and coming up with the ideas and not even being able to put your finger on where stories came from, especially when you’ve reached the end of a season.
For the Legends as well, they’re not fully capable individually. In fact, they’re pretty broken and messed up. Their ability to take on something like Mallus would be only through coming together. They’re able to overcome their individual weaknesses. Obviously that’s kind of an abstract idea and you need to come up with the concrete way of showing what that looks like. We did. It’s something we never would have imagined doing certainly at the beginning of the season or even the middle of the season, but by the time you reach the end of the season you’re like, “Yes!” I don’t know. You can sort of drive yourself crazy if you think that there’s only one right answer out there. Once you’ve found it, I feel like we’ve found it with our finale. I don’t know. You can tell me Tuesday morning.
It appears we’re getting many familiar faces in the finale. Is it all of the people we’ve seen over the whole season?
We did want it to be a greatest hits episode of both baddies and allies. I think the way in which the Legends accumulated allies was really unusual in this world that we’ve created, where the people they really helped were the people they went against what they were supposed to do according to the Time Bureau. Zari wasn’t supposed to return Helen of Troy to Themyscira, she was supposed to take her back to Troy. Sara wasn’t supposed to tell Ava about her disturbing backstory. Jax was basically a kidnapped college kid who was roofied and then put on a ship and taken away for all these adventures.,
What we wanted to do in the finale is to find, in all the messy way of doing things, that the Legends have managed to accumulate a lot of people who owed them one because of their unconventional methods. It’s all about bringing the Legends to their lowest as totem bearers and their plan to let Mallus loose so they can take him on head-on is obviously soon quickly realized that was not a great plan. What we wanted to do in the finale is to have them be at their lowest and at the same time buoyed by all of these reminders of they’ve got friends out there. They’re total eff-ups and there’s plenty of people who hate them, but it’s the people that they’ve helped that would stand by them at the very end of the world. That’s what the finale is.
What can you tease of this season’s cliffhanger?
Well, everybody knows about Matt Ryan at this point. It’s sort of a doubling down on the genres and worlds and motifs of the supernatural that we’ve dabbled in since early on in the season with Victorian London and obviously the Constantine episode. We really thought that the darker worlds that we explored like actually weirdly worked with the lighter tone of the show. You can still have comedy and fun character stuff even if you’re doing effectively a monster story of the week. We want to do more of those. Obviously our show will always be about history and fixing it, but having the ability to also do supernatural genre stories is incredibly liberating. I think we want to open the door in season 4 to doing more of those. It’s the arms race that you find yourselves in with a show like Legends where you are constantly trying to outdo yourself. It’s not a procedural where you just rinse and repeat. It requires something bigger and crazier than the last one. So far it seems to be able to sustain all matter of disparate genres and crazy things — like John Noble playing himself.
Will Sara get her wish to kill Damien?
I don’t know, man. I have huge ambivalence about that character, who would have been so easy to dispatch anywhere along the line for whatever the five years he’s been in the Arrowverse. I’ve grown increasingly fond of him. I, in a strange way, love him as a Legend at this point. I feel like his love of his daughter Nora has entirely redeemed him. I thought that moment in the last episode where he told Sara that he would take it all back if he could, Neal totally won me over in that moment. Obviously Sara is a little tougher than I am, but I don’t know. I saw something in her, I think her will buckled there for a moment. Honestly, it’s 50/50. It would be so satisfying to watch her get her satisfaction, but I think she’s moved on since then. Sometimes when you get what you want, you realize that it wasn’t what you wanted. I don’t think Sara is going to get exactly what she has been hoping for all those thousands of times she imagined killing Damien.
The season 3 finale of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow airs Monday at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.
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